The untapped potential of WhatsApp
With over 400 million users and growing, India has the largest active user base of WhatsApp in the world. Supporting over 55 languages, WhatsApp is ubiquitous and businesses cannot afford to ignore it.
WhatsApp for Business was introduced in 2018 and it marked a big change in terms of access for companies to integrate into core business applications. Customers are comfortable with the interface and use it for messaging all day long, which increases the chances of transacting on it.
In the last couple of years, airlines and hotels started enrolling consenting users into their WhatsApp for Business numbers; tickets, booking updates, reminders, and cancellations, to name a few scenarios got delivered to the WhatsApp number.
The next stage of growth will see automations and integrations into WhatsApp that go far beyond what is being seen today. And in a population that gets on the Internet largely through mobile, this is a significant entry e-commerce point for companies who work through the teething troubles.
Conversation marketing for better customer experience is a wide topic. Let us begin by exploring some foundational items:
WhatsApp for Business - Fundamentals
There are 3 types of WhatsApp accounts:
- WhatsApp Messenger - a super popular mobile app that we all use everyday for personal communication (mostly).
- WhatsApp Business - a mobile application meant for listing your business and communicating with your customers.
- WhatsApp Verified/Official Business account.
The difference between 2 and 3 is that, with your business account you can list a phone number as a business account by setting up your business profile, catalogue, and quick replies whereas to get a verified official business account, there is some work involved, viz. you need to make a formal application and comply with WhatsApp’s commerce policies. Only a limited number of applications get approved. And if you wish to apply for WhatsApp Business API to run your WhatsApp Bots and integrate it with your Conversation Marketing platform and CRM application, it is advisable to go with a reputed WhatsApp partner company like Yellow Messenger, a Conversational AI platform. Usually the approval process for getting an account verified can take 7-10 business days. Depending on your use cases, it can take 2-3 business weeks for the business API to start working.
WhatsApp can be a useful last-mile connection tool...
WhatsApp Automation and Bots
There are quite a few brands that have implemented WhatsApp bots. You may want to check out bots of these Indian brands Spencer’s Retail Grocery Assistant on +91 9007470000 and Asian Paints +91 9920990225.
Let’s understand how this process works. You will definitely need the WhatsApp Business API and a smart Conversational AI platform to build and test your conversation flows/bots. Once tested the bots can be deployed. There is a process around your communications templates that has to be adhered to. These templates need to be approved by WhatsApp as they do not allow blatant marketing. In our subsequent blogs, we will discuss how brands have adopted this idea rather creatively and yet managed to market without getting in the face.
With WhatsApp business API, you can report on message deliveries, usage and engagement. Chatbots can save a lot of help desk/support time and money, making the process efficient. When your bot is on WhatsApp, it's even better. FAQs is a classic case for WhatsApp bot, isn't it? When your bot can’t answer a question, it can seamlessly hand over the user to a human. With the interactive chat feature, it's literally ‘one click' to call.
At times Humans prefer talking to Bots…
What’s your preference - BOTS or HUMAN??
As a marketer, this is a critical requirement for me. You should be able to see the WhatsApp conversations of your contacts in your CRM and in their timelines. This will give you the ability to analyze, understand, and set-up workflows that trigger timely and relevant communication back to your prospects and customers.
It is possible to set up integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, Freshdesk and a host of other CRMs as long as the subject platform is API ready.
Connecting your core business applications such as your e-commerce store, business ERP systems and CRM is crucial to make your WhatsApp automation program a successful one.
BlueOshan is a Digital Agency with specific focus on tech enablement of marketing, sales and advertising processes. We have built integrations between HubSpot and WhatsApp and have automated customer communications using workflows. At BlueOshan, we try and understand your use cases and find a solution to deliver it smartly using technology. Should you wish to talk to a MarketingTech Consultant, give us a shout!
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